Aim. To examine changes in quality of life among patients with breast cancer and factors related to it, during the first threemonths after diagnosis. Background. Numerous studies have examined quality of life among cancer survivors or among patients with cancer after aggressive treatment; such research has demonstrated that quality of life in the third month after surgery can significantly predict quality of life in the long run. In contrast, changes in quality of life causes among patients during the acute treatment phase have not been well studied. Design. Prospective longitudinal study. Methods. Newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer were recruited during 2008-2009. Sixty-one cases completed the four data collections on the day before operation and one, two and threemonths after surgery. Data were collected using the Functional Living Index-Cancer, Symptom Distress Scale, the Self-Efficacy Scale and a 0-10 Anxiety Numeric Rating Scale. Generalized Estimating Equations were applied for data analysis. Results. There were significant changes in quality of life over the three months following surgery, and the worst quality of life was observed in the first month after surgery. Less advanced stages of cancer, lower anxiety, less symptom distress and higher perceived self-efficacy in the preoperative interview could significantly predict which patients experienced more positive quality of life trends. Fatigue, limited shoulder function and perceived poor appearance were the most significant factors predicting changes of quality of life. Conclusion. Preoperative physical and psychological factors, as well as sense of self-efficacy for managing the cancer, are important factors for predicting changes in patients' quality of life. Relevance to clinical practice. Healthcare providers should be alert to factors contributing to changes of quality of life among patients receiving chemotherapy. Interventions based on these results should be developed and their effectiveness tested for their impact on breast cancer patients' quality of life. Clinical interventions based on these results should be developed to improve breast cancer patients' quality of life.
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